March 4th, 2011

problem cat

seems like your dear diary didn't know you so well

Daily Commute March 4 2011 002

Tea today: Tindhari Estate Darjeeling FTGFOP1 CL. At least the first cup. Then I'm switching to Chun Mee
Teacup today: Shadow Unit

Today's Daily Commute photo guest stars MY BREAKFAST.

Plans to make chili and anadama bread* and watch the Benjamin Bagby Beowulf tonight with The Jeff, so I need to get as much novella under my wheels this morning/afternoon as possible. Lost most of the morning to errands (prescription pickup, you know the drill) but got some writing done in bed before roustout and some more at the pharmacy.

This novella seems to want to be written to KT Tunstall and Garbage, which makes perfect sense for a story set in Bengaluru in 2050 or thereabouts...

All right. Words. I leave you to your internets, Internet.

*Like Boston Brown Bread, I suspect this started off as a thrifty New England way to use up the scraps.

when i grow up i want to be stable

This is an experimental recipe: I'm in the middle of making it for the first time. I'll let you know how it turns out.

I should have started this last night, but I didn't decide I wanted it until today.


Anadama bread recipe




4 oz cornmeal

2 oz rye flour

2 oz rolled oats

2 oz whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

6-8 oz filtered or chlorine-free water (plus more if atmosphere is dry: you want a thick paste)


Mix together, press plastic wrap to the surface, and set aside at room temperature for as long as practical: 12-24 hours is best. Today I am probably doing about 4.


You're fermenting the grains a little bit, and allowing them to hydrate so your final bread is not gritty.


Note: Oatmeal/rolled oats is not canonical, but I put oatmeal in freakin' everything. It's good for you and I love how it tastes.




9 oz white or white wheat or bread flour. If using white wheat or all-purpose flour, add:

2 heaping teaspoons vital wheat gluten

1 cup starter (I didn't bother to feed mine, as it will have plenty of time to wake up. You can skip the starter, but lactobacillus is good for rye breads, and sourdough process lowers the glycemic index of breads)

1 tsp instant yeast (if making it without starter, 2 tsp.) (If you do not have instant/bread machine yeast, use an ounce of the water and a sprinkle of sugar to proof it for a few minutes before adding.)

6-8 oz water, or enough to make a soft, tacky dough. This will depend on if it's dry or humid, and how wet your starter is.


Cover THIS with a wet towel and stick it in the oven with the light on. Give it a few hours to get to work.


Final Dough:




~4 ounces white or white wheat or bread flour--however much it takes to make a soft but manageable dough, plus extra for kneading.

½ teaspoon salt (You can leave this out if you prefer a less salty loaf, as there is already salt in the soaker. I would recommend against leaving out all the salt, because unsalted bread is pretty disgusting.)

2 tsp yeast (You're giving it an extra boost! If you have time for a longer rise, you can cut this to one tsp, and the bread will have a less "yeasty" flavor. Unsurprisingly.)

2 tbsp oil or soft/melted butter

2 tbsp cream (You can omit this: it makes a softer crumb. You can sub in scalded or dry milk, as well.)

½ cup molasses

Extra water if necessary.



Cut the soaker and sponge into small pieces and add them to the other stuff in alternating handfuls. (The "epoxy" method.)


Knead by hand or machine for 5 minutes or so. Rest for another 5-10 minutes, and then knead again. You'll be able to tell if it needs more flour or more water by the texture--if it's moist enough, it'll come together and form an autonomous collective. If it's too dry it'll be crumbly or stiff.


It's better to knead longer to bring it together than keep dumping flour in, because more flour makes a tougher loaf.


Let the dough rise until more than doubled in size. Because there's so much whole grain in this stuff, you want lots of headspace: otherwise it will be a rock when you bake it, and it shouldn't be.


Shape the loaf or loaves, depending on how it's rising and the size of your bread pans. Put the loaves in the pans and allow them to rise until they fill the pans. (Another hour or so, in a warm place, if your yeast is good.)


Preheat the oven to 425. Place the pans on the middle of the oven and lower the temp to 350. Bake twenty minutes, rotate, bake another 20 minutes. You can use steam to make a crust, or brush the tops with butter or water or milk and sprinkle with oatmeal, salt, millet, whatever.


Loaf is done when the internal temperature is at least 200 degrees, or it feels light for its size and sounds hollow when you thump the bottom center.


ETA: Anadama bread, for the unitiated, is a Yankee thing like Portugese rolls and Boston Brown Bread. I would guess that, like BBB, it originated when thrifty Yankee housewives needed to use up that last scrap of all the various crap in the pantry. And some molasses. You know. Because we tend to have a lot of molasses.

Progress notes:

2 hours in, I decided that the sponge's rate of growth was such that I was terminating the soak/sponge process and making dough. Because of the yeast's good cheer, I only added 1 more teaspoon.

So now it's 4 pm, and the dough is in pans (two small bread pans, one large) and rising for an hour. Pictures by dinnertime!

It's a very slack, high-hydration dough, but quite cohesive--as long as your hands are a bit damp or floury, quite easy to work with. Nice.
criminal minds reid eat

push a little longer. dance a little harder. never give yourself away.

Long-delayed, but as promised to Viable Paradise students and faculty:

My New England-style chili recipe, in photos:

(NB: when I make this at VP, it's made with turkey and beans, and I sub in cashew butter because of peanut allergies and hatreds.)

Get some fat. Put it in a pan.

The fat I used today came from roasting a marrowbone. If you do use beef tallow, yay! (Bacon grease is also good, if you are feeding pork eaters.) What? It's chili, people.

Olive oil, also possible. If you're some kind of health freak.

Chili and Anadama Bread March 4 2011 001  Chili and Anadama Bread March 4 2011 042 

You know what those are. The one you can't read is sweet California Basil; the one with no label is bay. If you didn't know that, learn what bay looks like. To taste, but I use twice as much ancho and oregano as everything else. If you are the sort of person who does not believe this is spicy enough, I'm sure you have some cayenne and crushed reds in the cabinet. Fix it.

Those are so pretty, let's look at them up close.

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Bloom the spices other than the Aleppo (or crushed reds) and the garlic powder over low heat in the fat.

Chili also needs salt, and I put in some smoked salt too, because I had it and smoky chili --> yum.

You could also use commercial chili powder if you liked, but mine is better.

If you were not cooking for my mom, you could use cilantro.

That marrowbone? If you have it, put it in.

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If you rendered bacon for fat, chop or crumble that and put it in.

Meanwhile, brown your meat in a medium-hot skillet in small batches, making sure you give it plenty of time to develop a nice fond.

This is a fond:

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It does not matter what kind of meat you use. I have made this from hamburger, venison, stew beef, veal, turkey--

Drain the fat off the meat and set it aside. Put the meat in the chili pot. The size of your chili pot depends on how much meat you are putting into it. Add the rest of the spices.

Get one of these (your preferred brand) and do this with it:

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This is called "deglazing the pan." Doesn't that sound fancy? Scrape your spoon or spatula across the bottom of the pan to release the fond and get it mixed in with the beer.

Put the deglazing fluid in the chili pot.

Get some of this and add about this much to the pot:

Chili and Anadama Bread March 4 2011 031  Chili and Anadama Bread March 4 2011 032  Chili and Anadama Bread March 4 2011 033

If you do not have that, you can use chicken broth or water. If you have home-made beef stock, so much the better.

(The pot stays over medium-low heat the whole time.)

Put a little more fat in your now nice clean skillet and put some onions and garlic in it. If you have two skillets, you could have done this already, while browning the meat:

Chili and Anadama Bread March 4 2011 045 

Sautee the onions and garlic over low heat until they are translucent. Add them to the chili pot. If you burn them, start over.

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If you want beans in this batch, take your canned (or soaked and precooked) beans and add them now.

If not, do no such thing.

Tomatoes, fresh or canned, crushed or whole or chopped:

Chili and Anadama Bread March 4 2011 035 

And some other things. This is the secret bit. Hardly any of that first thing, and only a block or a half a block of that last. That's hippie peanut butter.

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Those yellow lumps in the chili are chunks of potato, because I forgot I wasn't adding beans and oversaulted. They come out before serving, if you need them.

This is what makes it New England Style, if you happen to leave out the beans:

Chili and Anadama Bread March 4 2011 039 

Grade B Dark Amber if you can get it. Enough to give the chili just a hint of sweetness. Maybe a quarter cup. If you do not have real maple syrup, use brown sugar or molasses.

No, really. Would I lie to you?

Chili and Anadama Bread March 4 2011 048

Cook it uncovered until it's thick, then cover it and simmer it on low until the onions dissolve completely.

Eat. With cornbread, or rice, or tortillas, or whatever.
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